Of course it had to start raining right as I was about to leave my hotel and head out on my bike with all my bags in tow. The semi-short bike ride seemed like it took forever with the drizzle and the constant shifting of my belongings. Nevertheless I arrived.
It took me all of 20 minutes to unpack my things and then I headed out on a motorbike ride to the "police" with Mrs. Ha, my landlord. The Borch's reassured me that they went through the same process with their landlord so I wasnt too worried. When we got to the "police" I noticed the sign said public notary and I just chuckled, with my nerves calming. Mrs. Ha's husband was there waiting for us with a pile of documents. I guess this is a big process for the Vietnamese.
I was given a contract, in Vietnamese of course, and as I stared at it trying to look like I had developed these Vietnamese skills everyone knows I'm lacking, a lovely translator came to my side. She explained the contract in the following manner....
You move into Ha's? You see the room yet? You pay $200. You dont brake anything..you pay. You dont fix anything.. Ha's husband. you stay 1 month. 3/16-4/16. OK -Sign.
Yes my 4 page contract was translated into that. What was I to do? Sign the contract! As I signed my "Life" away followed by a fingerprint I was praying to all the god's in the sky... please let me go home to the United States one day.
Ha took me back to the apartment. I havent taken any pictures so I will try and describe it to you. It's a two story building. The bottom is Ha's house and a wonderfully delicious restaurant. The top is mine! It's perfect. That's my description for now. So we get back to Ha's and she has me fill out another form and then ask's for a passport photo. I was in luck. I had some taken in India for my upcoming travels and they gave me 8 which at the time I thought was hysterical. What would I ever need 8 passport photos for? So I brought Ha one picture and she says no 8. So I went back upstairs and grabbed the other ones I had totaling 7 and she said ok ok ok. So magically the number went from 8 to 7 but that's ok with me. One less thing I had to do.
It rained the rest of the day and I spent it curled up in my big bed watching cable TV feeling like a queen. Around 7:30pm I get a phone call from my friends from the hotel! They wanted to come see my place. As they pull in the drive way, Ha and her family are ferociously cooking dinner for a tour group of 30 and give me that look like, what are you doing? I felt like I was back under the wrath of my parents house all over again. I explained that they were my friends and they were coming to see my new home in as little words as possible because you see I’m lacking Vietnamese, Ha’s lacking English. (two peas in a pod!) You would think my Vietnamese friends could just talk to my Vietnamese landlord but no they left that all up to the non-Vietnamese American. The end result-As long as they werent living there with me Ha was all smiles.
My friends were so happy for me, calling my place "comfortable". To put it into perspective I think of my place as a little palace. Marble floors and walls, a kind size bed, all the perks of being at home. So I think comfortable is translated into amazing. I showed them the contract and without me even asking they translated the whole thing into English for me. They came up with basically the same thing the translator said. So you can rest assure that I will be coming back to the USA with my dignity intact. Moving Day was a success!!
I've added some pictures to my last post! Make sure you check them out.